Thursday, June 11, 2015

Live from New York -- It's Mr. Death!

Genuinely legendary actor -- and long time hero of mine -- Sir Christopher Lee has died at the age of 93.

The world is now officially a duller place than it was before his passing.

This sketch, from Lee's appearance on Saturday Night Live, is only available behind a YouTube pay-for-view wall, but I'm posting the script as a tribute to the great man just because it's so damn funny.


Written by: Alan Zweibel, Herb Sargent, & Gilda Radner

Mother ... Jane Curtin
Penny ... Laraine Newman
Mr. Death ... Christopher Lee

[A little girl's bedroom at bedtime. A mother comforts her daughter, Penny.]

Mother: Your father and I will get you another dog right away, honey. We promise.

Penny: I don't want another dog! I want Tippy! Why did Tippy have to die?

Mother: Honey, dogs die just like people do. Just like when Grandpa died.

Penny: You mean, Grandpa also swallowed a doorknob?

Mother: Well, no, not-- No. But - but don't worry, honey, tomorrow we'll pick out a new dog.

Penny: Can I name him "Tippy"?

Mother: Of course you can.

Penny: Well....

Mother: Good. Now, close your eyes and get a good night's sleep [kisses Penny on forehead] and I'll see you tomorrow.

Penny: Good night, Mom.

[Mother shuts off light and exits. Penny gets out from under the covers, kneels by the bed and says her prayers:]

Penny: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. [Unseen by Penny, a shadowy figure moves into view behind her] God bless Mommy and Daddy and my best friend Karen and my dead dog Tippy. Amen.

Mr. Death: That's very nice, Penny.

[Penny turns and rises to confront Mr. Death, a Grim Reaper with a deep, cultured voice, wearing a dark robe, and carrying a huge scythe. Penny is not scared at all, just amazed.]

Penny: Hey! Who are you? What are you doing in my room?

Mr. Death: I'm ... sorry about Tippy and I came to apologize.

Penny: Are you the man who made Tippy die?

Mr. Death: Well, sort of. Tippy was on my list.

Penny: [upset] What list? What do you mean?

Mr. Death: Oh, please don't get too angry at me. Every day I'm given a list of lives that ... have to end. It's - it's not the greatest job in the world but it's a living.

Penny: [sits at foot of bed] But you KILLED Tippy! And that's bad! 'Cause in Sunday school we learned the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not cover up thy neighbor's wife. Thou shalt not witness false bears. Thou shalt not--

Mr. Death: [sits next to Penny] Yes, you are absolutely right, Penny. You are right. You are not supposed to kill and, well, I - I don't ... kill.

Penny: What do you do?

Mr. Death: Well, when you are born, Mr. Life is there. And when you die, Mr. Death takes over.

Penny: Well, you're mean, Mr. Death. You make people cry.

Mr. Death: Well, I can't help that, Penny. I'm ... inevitable. Everything has to die. People, animals, flowers.

Penny: What about rocks?

Mr. Death: Rocks were never alive so they can't die.

Penny: What about dolls?

Mr. Death: Same thing.

Penny: Once, Tippy ate off one of my doll's heads and I yelled at him and I hit him with the newspaper and he hid under the couch and - now I'm sorry and I can't tell him - oh! - 'cause he's not here anymore and I hate you! Why don't you take Kenny Tuckman? He sits behind me in school and pokes me!

Mr. Death: [pulls a scroll from his pocket] Tuckman? [consults the scroll] Tuckman? No. I don't see him on my list, uh, for-for quite a while. I wish that Richard Harris and Nick Nolte were on it.

Penny: Can I see that?

Mr. Death: [pockets the scroll] Oh, no, no, no. No, Penny! That's, uh, that's very private.

Penny: I'll bet you killed a million thousand skillion trillion people.

Mr. Death: Well, I don't know if "killed" is the right word. But I have got a big list.

Penny: My grandpa?

Mr. Death: Yes.

Penny: Senator Humphrey?

Mr. Death: Yes.

Penny: Jesus?

Mr. Death: No, the Romans did that.

Penny: Did you come here to get me?

Mr. Death: No.

Penny: Once, I had a baby chick -- it died. Last summer, I caught a frog -- died. And then I had a hamster -- died. Goldfish -- died. Turtle -- died.

Mr. Death: So I hate small animals! You can't blame me for that.

Penny: That's terrible!

Mr. Death: I told you, I just came here to apologize about Tippy. It's the first time I've ever apologized to anyone. I'm - I'm not used to this. So don't make it any harder for me, please. Do you mind if I have a drink? [pulls out a flask, unscrews it, and takes a snort]

Penny: You're drinking whiskey, aren't ya? You know, when my dad does that, some times he feels so bad in the morning he can't even go to work.

Mr. Death: Well, I wish I didn't have to go to work. You think I like making little girls like you cry?

Penny: [sympathetically] Oh, Mr. Death!

Mr. Death: I wanted to be ... Mother Nature. Didn't work out. I couldn't tell butter from margarine. So I went into this field and I'm quite successful at it but all the recognition, it doesn't help at all, you know. Poets, novelists, playwrights, philosophers, they've all written about me. Ingmar Bergman makes movies I'll never understand. Why don't they just accept me for, well, for what I am? I'm - I'm just a man with a job to do. Someone has to do it. [pause] Well, I'm off. [rises, Penny follows]

Penny: Well, where're ya goin' now, Mr. Death?

Mr. Death: I'm going to Lebanon. I have some mopping up to do there.

Penny: Well, are you really sorry about Tippy?

Mr. Death: Yes, I am.

Penny: Well, I guess I forgive you.

Mr. Death: Thank you, Penny.

Penny: Mr. Death, will I ever see Tippy again?

Mr. Death: Oh, yes, someday. Someday I'll take you to him but that won't be for a long time.

Penny: When?!

Mr. Death: [she's asked one question too many and he snaps at her] I'll come and visit you on your fifteenth birthday!

Penny: What?

Mr. Death: [realizes he's said too much] Oh, just kidding, Penny. You, uh, you better get to bed.

Penny: [climbs into bed] Okay. Well, Mr. Death, I'm sorry I got mad at you. I know you have a hard job.

Mr. Death: [sits beside her] It's not easy. But right now you have a job to do, young lady, and that's to go to sleep.

Penny: Okay. Mr. Death, can you kiss me good night?

Mr. Death: Penny?

Penny: Yeah?

Mr. Death: [crisply] Don't press your luck. [rises and walks off]

[ fade ]

I should add that Gilda, Laraine and Jane all said that Lee was their favorite guest host ever; they adored him.


cthulhu said...

There was also his introduction of the musical guest: "Ladies and gentlemen, meet...Loaf!"

Anonymous said...

The Wicker Man has become a ritual around here. Sometimes we watch it with the sound off. I have a recording of the soundtrack with Love's "Willow, Willow" and "I'm With You" added on a loop that we play instead. Great for multi-media flesh sessions. Sooo psychedelic and pagan. Yummm.

I always took for granted that Christopher Lee couldn't die, being a member of the undead. He and Peter Cushing are immortal and finally together for eternity.

What a career! Dracula, Star Wars, James Bond, Jesus Franco, Ursula Andress, Britt Eckland and Jayne Mansfield sexploitation flix, Lord of the fucking Rings ..... and even a solo album.


Avedon said...

It's true, I can't hear or read Meat Loaf's name without remembering that introduction, it really stayed with me.